Vol.2 No.3 2009

Research paper−184−Synthesiology - English edition Vol.2 No.3 pp.184-193 (Dec. 2009) Traditionally, advanced technology was developed mainly by major corporations and diffused into the households through the market mechanism. However, when an advanced technology is introduced, difficult problems develop in many cases. Even if a heat source is developed, supplementary components such as utensils, skills, and recipes, as mentioned above, become necessary[2]. In addition to the development of IH by manufacturers, users who are highly interested in the development and diffusion of IH from various positions become “lead users[3]” and develop the supplementary technology to promote diffusion of the technology to households. This paper looks at this process, and surveys and analyzes how various lead users each played roles in the process of introducing the advanced technology called IH. First, the routes by which each component of the cooking system reached the household and how they spread as part of the IH cooking system are investigated by the time-series analysis of the media information on the change in the cooking method. Second, we looked at the cooking method in which “frying is done by holding the silicon spatulas in both hands” while the frying pan remains fixed. This is a method that diffused along with IH, and who developed it and how this method was developed are analyzed. Based on the above analyses, the paper proposes a model that emphasizes the roles of various lead users when advanced technology is introduced to the household. Finally, what is needed to maximize the technological potential from a social perspective when introducing advanced technology into households will be discussed.2 Existing studiesHumans have developed various artifacts over the history to 1 IntroductionToday, there are many households that are introducing induction heating (IH) cooking devices and changing the heat source in the kitchen from gas to electricity. The development of IH devices was initiated by major electric appliances companies mainly for cooking stoves, in the beginning of the 1970s, and was put to practical use in the early 1990s. In the commercialized product, food is cooked by the heat of the cooking utensil placed on the stove, of which the heat is induced by electromagnetic induction in which the electricity is passed through the coil inside the stove. Initially, the price of IH was 350,000 yen, which was way too high for household diffusion, but the price dropped to less than 200,000 yen in the late 1990s. As of 2008, over 10 % of households use IH.In analyzing the introduction of IH innovation, it is important to note that the benefit cannot be gotten with IH devices alone. It is necessary to prepare an entire system for cooking (here this will be called the cooking system), such as purchasing the cooking utensils that can be used in IH, learning the cooking skills, and developing the recipe. While the IH devices were developed actively by major corporations, in the early 1990s utensils that could be used with IH were inadequate, and the development of the components of the cooking system started only in the stage when IH began to diffuse into the households. Today, various proposals have been made for the IH cooking system, and the effort continues to design a new system where IH becomes the dominant component among all necessary components (dominant design[1]).- The development and diffusion of induction heating cookery -Yuka Kubo*and Yasunori BabaResearch Center for Advanced Science and Technology, The University of Tokyo 4-6-1 Komaba, Meguro-ku 153-8904, Japan*E-mail : Original manuscript received May 30, 2009, Revisions received July 24, 2009, Accepted July 24, 2009In this paper, we propose a multi lead users model for the transfer of technology into households through an empirical analysis of the development and diffusion of induction heating (IH) cookery. Even if big firms successfully develop a technology such as IH, a new cooking paradigm based upon a special cooking device or special recipes is necessary when introducing a new technology to households. We postulate that two types of lead users play crucial roles in the task: reasoning-based lead users with technological expertise contribute to the development of functionality; sensitivity-based lead users having little expertise contribute to diffusion by making product socially trendy and authentically attractive. When introducing advanced technologies such as robots that have not been successfully diffused into households, forming flexible networks between the multi lead users and other stakeholders becomes highly indispensable.Two types of lead users in a model for the transfer of technology into householdsKeywords : Advanced technology, lead user, technology diffusion, social value, induction heating cookery[Translation from Synthesiology, Vol.2, No.3, p.201-210 (2009)]


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